Eight Outer Banks Locations Guaranteed to Add Chills to Your Vacation
For many American families, the words Outer Banks are synonymous with nostalgia and summer family fun. From historic lighthouses and mountainous sand dunes to wild horses and enchanting maritime forests, these narrow barrier islands along the east coast of North Carolina have something for everyone. Including a few ghostly haunts. Yes, it seems that under all the sunblock and sugar highs, there are a few spots where even the bravest vacationer will take heed.
- The Black Pelican Restaurant
If you’re in search of good food, great views, and a fantastic story, look no further than The Black Pelican Restaurant, an oceanfront dining experience in Kitty Hawk. Built in the late 1800s as Station Six of seven lifesaving stations along the coast, this casual eatery is said to be haunted by T.L. Daniels, a young surfman who was murdered by his boss. According to legend, Captain Hobbs shot T.L. in the head, ironically, outside the lifesaving station, after T.L. severely offended the captain’s wife. He then carried the young man’s body into the surf, never to be seen again. Without evidence of the crime and with a crew unwilling to defy their captain, justice was never served, but I’m guessing the rest of that crew were more careful to toe the line!
- Pioneer Movie Theatre in Manteo
If you’re interested in a little after-dinner entertainment, try the Pioneer Movie Theatre in Manteo. The Pioneer has one showing per day, one movie per week, and is the oldest family-run theater in America. With affordable pricing and films that never have an R rating, this place makes for a safe and affordable family outing. If you don’t mind the ghost.
The Roanoke Island landmark is said to be haunted by members of the operating family who have passed on but not yet vacated the theater. So, don’t be surprised if you get an other-worldly “pardon me” in the dark or a cool hand on your shoulder should you dare use your cell phone during the show.
- Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
Fort Raleigh is a destination not to be missed. Not just for the haunting, but for its historical significance. This is the site of the first English settlement in America, also known as the Roanoke Colony. Records show English settlers arrived in 1585 but vanished completely and without a trace by 1590. Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the colony, is said to haunt the area now in the form of a white doe. The story of the Lost Colony is one we all love to speculate on. There’s even a season of American Horror Story devoted to it! Why not drop by and experience the history for yourself?
- & 5. The Currituck Lighthouse Location and the Infamous North Bedroom
I’m calling this one a twofer, so if the trip to the Lost Colony hasn’t satisfied your thirst for the mysterious, then zip over to the lighthouse on Currituck Beach and get two thrills in one stop! The Currituck Lighthouse Location is both the site of Sadie Johnson’s drowning in the mid-1800s and the sinking of a great ship nearly 200 years before!
Little Sadie Johnson was the first Currituck lighthouse keeper’s daughter. Sadly, her body washed ashore one day after she failed to come home from playing in the sand. Her bedroom was the north bedroom in the keeper’s cottage beside the lighthouse, and it is said to be haunted to this day. The room allegedly saw two deaths after Sadie’s loss. First, a friend of Sadie’s mother who bunked in the room following the child’s death, then the mother of the next family to reside in the keeper’s cottage. No one has spent an entire night in the room since.
In addition to the haunted cottage bedroom, there’s the case of a seventeenth-century ship discovered just off the coast from the lighthouse in 2009. Underwater archeologists and historians have not been able to name the ship, but coins found onboard bearing the image of King Louis XIII suggest the large vessel likely crashed 200 years before the lighthouse was built and probably carried a great number of passengers. One of those lost souls might even be what lured little Sadie Johnson into the surf in the first place.
- The Tranquil House Inn
After a long day of chills and thrills by the seaside, it’s time to find lodging, but don’t let this inn’s name fool you. Guests of the former boarding house claim to hear haunted footsteps and slamming doors, among other eerie disturbances, such as flickering lights, televisions with minds of their own, and even a female specter seen in first-floor mirrors. If you’re brave enough to rent Room 3, some say a rather brazen ghost will put the toilet seat up repeatedly just to slam it down again. Hopefully, not while you’re on it.
- White Doe Inn
If you’re looking for a less interactive ghost experience, the White Doe Inn is worth a stay. Built in the early 1900s, this splendid three-story Victorian has charm for days. Formerly a grand family home, the transformation to bed and breakfast occurred in the 1950s. Since then, the residence has earned continuous accolades and more than a few nervous whispers. Voted the most unique bed and breakfast in the country, the White Doe Inn promises everything a guest could want in a B&B experience with the perk of possibly catching glimpse of the legendary white doe through one of the home’s historic stained-glass windows.
- Whalehead Mansion
Finally, if you’re in the mood to explore someplace downright decadent, travel up the coast to Historic Corolla and take a tour of the Whalehead. Built in the 1920s, this decadent 21,000-square-foot residence was once the summer dwelling of a very wealthy young couple. After their passings, the Whalehead went on to be many things including a private boarding school for boys, a military barracks for the coast guard, and a rocket fuel-testing site for the government. Thankfully, the home was returned to its original grandeur in the late twentieth century and is now available to tour for a fee. Be sure to keep your eyes open for the little girl haunting the basement and the bright lights, glowing orbs, and fancy-dressed ghosts that turn up regularly in visitors’ photos. If you can stick around past sunset, you can choose a Twilight tour that ends with a wine tasting or a Moonlight Ghost Tour to highlight the numerous ghosts believed to haunt the property. Whatever you decide, don’t go alone. The Outer Banks were meant to be enjoyed with family and friends.
Bree Baker is a Midwestern writer obsessed with small town hijinks, sweet tea, and the sea. She’s been telling stories to her family, friends, and strangers for as long as she can remember, and more often than not, those stories feature a warm ocean breeze and a recipe she’s sure to ruin. Now, she’s working on those fancy cooking skills and dreaming up adventures for the Seaside Cafe mysteries. Her debut title, Live & Let Chai, releases from Sourcebooks in July 2018. Bree is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Romance Writers of America. She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
Learn more about Bree and the Seaside Café Mysteries at http://breebaker.com/